Re: Objective standards of conduct [was Re: Dyson (Was: Paths to
Mon, 11 Jan 1999 15:58:31 -0700

I've argued that standards of conduct arise ultimately from our evolutionary history. Samael objects:

>So if it's a biological imperative it's "right". Boy is your life going
>be odd!

Believe me, it is...

>Oh and you're still going to have to work out which bits of the way
>people are is defined by genetics and which bit is cultural.

Quite so. We've made great progress in this area over the past few decades. But bear in mind that even our cultural development is in some measure a function of our genetic makeup.

I wrote:
>The fact of the evolution of life provides profound insight into why we
>consistently, as a species, choose certain values and reject other things
>as "evil". As such, I consider it the only firm basis for ethical theory.
>Sort of the "missing link" in the natural law tradition.

Samael replies:
>Evolution only show what is necessary for survival, which mostly appears
>be the ability to bop your neighbour over the head and steal his country
>rapidly as possible, while shaggin as many of his women as possible.

That this is your opinion has a lot to do with our political differences, I suspect. See below.

BTW, evolutionary success is *not* a matter of mere survival, despite popular ignorance. Those organisms that *thrive* best, as opposed to barely surviving, are the ones likely to pass on the most genetic "packages" to the next generation.

>I don't recall any natural societies of any species in which animals
>from stealing from each other when each others backs are turned, or from
>indulging ion all sorts of conduct which would seem to be

You might want to check out some recent work in the field of ethology (the science of animal behavior). All social animals tend to avoid "antisocial" behavior, as those who don't, tend to find their lineages weeded out of the gene pool.